Mozambique: Mediators Suspend Talks

Government-Renamo negotiations resumed briefly on Wednesday 27 July and then were suspended by the mediators until Monday 8 August. The mediators submitted proposals in response to the first item on the agenda, Renamo’s demand to take power in six provinces. On Saturday 23 July, because of what lead mediator Mario Raffaelli described as “several impasses”, the mediators suspended talks and drew up the own proposals which were submitted to the two sides on Wednesday. Raffaelli said: “We urge the two sides to seriously consider the proposals”. Raffaelli said the suspension in talks was for “logistical reasons”, but it will also allow the two sides extra time to consider how to respond. Raffaelli also said that the mediators had met twice with President Filipe Nyusi and maintained telephone contact with Renamo head Afonso Dhlakama.

Both sides have taken hard lines. Government says the Renamo demand is unconstitutional and the constitution must be followed. Ivone Soares, head of the Renamo parliamentary bench, told the closing parliament session Thursday 28 July that “never, never, never will Renamo give up the governance of the six provinces”.

Savana (29 July) says that its sources claim that the mediators “came to the conclusion that the two parties are not yet prepared for a serious dialogue and decided to leave the country. According to our sources, there was no opening for counter-proposals from either side.” In the face of this intransigence and lack of seriousness on both sides, some of the mediators were not prepared to continue clearing their diaries and pay the costs of staying in Maputo. Finally, there also appear to be divisions within the large number of mediators and less than total support for Raffaelli as lead mediator. Savana says two of the government nominated mediators, Quett Masire and Jonathan Powell, left Maputo on 25 July, two days before the negotiations were suspended, while Jakaya Kikwete never joined the talks.

Source: Mozambique News Reports & Clippings.